Arizona political figures respond to Mueller’s statement on Russia probe

May 29, 2019, 1:15 PM
(Getty Images Photo/Alex Wong)...
(Getty Images Photo/Alex Wong)
(Getty Images Photo/Alex Wong)

PHOENIX — Arizona political figures responded Wednesday to special counsel Robert Mueller’s first public statement on his investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 election.

Mueller said he was resigning from the Department of Justice to return to private life and closing the special counsel office as the investigation has concluded.

He also said he was barred from charging President Donald Trump with a crime but emphasized that his Russia report did not exonerate the president.

Valley political expert Stan Barnes said Mueller’s statement offered nothing new and will be interpreted along political party lines, just as his report was.

“My initial takeaway is that this adds fuel to the Democratic impeachment parade fire and chant and energy,” Barnes told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“I don’t know why Robert Mueller did this. I guess he had his own reasons. … He said the report speaks for itself, and I think that’s what we are stuck with.”

Barnes said if Mueller had evidence that Trump obstructed justice, he would have pointed more strongly to it in his report or said the word “guilty.”

U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs, an East Valley Republican, said Mueller’s remarks reinforced the fact that he found no evidence of Trump colluding with Russians.

“Even with a biased team of partisan attorneys and a scope that veered dramatically from its original course, Robert Mueller found that President Trump did not collude with the Russians to influence the 2016 election; and with no underlying crime, Robert Mueller did not find that the president obstructed justice,” Biggs said in a statement.

“Robert Mueller again repeated his findings this morning. The case is closed, and Democrats and the media should move on from their fascination with Russian fairytales.”

West Valley Republican U.S. Rep. Debbie Lesko echoed Biggs’ call to move on from the investigation.

“Special Counsel Mueller reaffirmed today what we knew from his report: No collusion and no obstruction charges,” Lesko said in a tweet.

“This case is closed. It is time for Democrats to move on and finally focus on the real issues facing the American people.”

Phoenix Democrat U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego reacted to Mueller’s statement simply by calling for him to testify.

In his statement, Mueller addressed Democrats’ requests for him to testify before Congress by saying he felt it was “inappropriate” for him to do so, as he would only offer up information that is available in his report.

U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, a southern Arizona Democrat, said Mueller’s statement reinforced the need for an impeachment inquiry.

“President Trump is not exonerated, and his administration is deliberately misleading the American people about the findings of the Special Counsel,” Grijalva tweeted.

“If this isn’t a reason for an #ImpeachmentInquiryNow, I don’t know what is.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Arizona political figures respond to Mueller’s statement on Russia probe